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Free Study Guide for Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

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FREE BOOK NOTES FOR LONESOME DOVE BY LARRY MCMURTRY

CHAPTER 28

Summary

The next day, July and Joe prepare for their trip. Joe is stunned that heís being allowed to go and excitedly waits for the journey to begin. Roscoe Brown is also stunned, because he must take the responsibility of being sheriff until July returns. This will be a difficult proposition for him, because he is naturally lazy and incompetent. As for July, he feels a deep sense of apprehension as he leaves this woman he has come to love. He feels like he is being carried along in life like a river carries a chip, and he canít stop it from flowing ever onward. Now that they ready, July feels strangely reluctant to leave Fort Smith. Heís comfortable there and finding Jake Spoon is a big job. He also feels that something is terribly wrong with Elmira, and he has no one to watch her except Roscoe Brown.

Notes

This chapter is an echo of the leave-taking of the Hat Creek Cattle Company. Joe is like Newt, excited for unexpected journey and a new responsibility. Roscoe is reminiscent of Xavier Wanz, who feared life in a town where all the familiar people are gone. July is like Gus and Call, somewhat nostalgic as he leaves his town and apprehensive for what heís leaving behind as well as what will come up ahead.



CHAPTER 29

Summary

Six days after July and Joe have left, Roscoe Brown feels the weight of responsibility fall on him. Peach and Charlie Barnes, the town banker, descend upon the jail with the news that Elmira Johnson has left. Peach guesses that she got tired of living with July. Roscoe thinks itís possible she got eaten by a bear, but Peach insists he go after her anyway. She pressures him with two choices: go after Elmira or go after July and tell him his wife has taken off. The next day, he finds himself saddling a horse and preparing to leave. Peach and Charlie are outside the jail to see him off as are many other town citizens. He tries to reason with them about why he shouldnít take the trip, but no one will listen to him. So he looks on this little town where he has lived most of his life and has a strong premonition that he wonít be back. He is bitter, too, that everyone is eager for him to go. So he takes one last look at the river and heads for Texas.

Notes

Once again we have a reluctant rider taking a trip towards an unknown future. Roscoe is very incompetent and itís easy to guess that he may have a hard trip finding July and Joe. He too is reminiscent of the Hat Creek cowboys: he feels badly about leaving his town and somewhat fearful of what the road will bring him. Like Lippy, he wonders if heíll ever return.


CHAPTER 30

Summary

As the chapter opens, the point of view shifts again, this time to Lorena who has finally found a time for a good wash in the Nueces River. They had had a bad day trying to fight their way through the mesquite thickets, and she decides this is the perfect spot to stop. Jake is drunk, and they are quite a distance from the herd. However, the fact that she can see the dust they raise reassures her they are not lost. Jake is also angry, because his hand is so swollen from the thorn, and Lorena keeps denying him any pleasure. She gives in to him, but he is so sick that he can do nothing. So, Lorena gets out the cooking pot to make him some coffee.

Deets arrives near their camp, telling them as scout, heís looking for a good place to cross the herd. He notices how sick Jake is and insists that he will take the thorn out of his hand. He finds the needle in his pack with which he always repairs his quilted pants and digs in Jakeís hand until he removes the thorn. Deets also tells them they should get across the river, because there is a great storm coming. He helps them pack up, and even helps Lorena get her skittish mare across the river. He warns them that they should cook quickly and get their fire doused, because the storm is bringing bad winds. Lorena feels her first sense of fear, because sheís going to be outside with lightning.

Notes

This is a good chapter to note how the relationship between Jake and Lorena is beginning to disintegrate. Jake is sick and angry at her and canít seem to help her when she needs him. Itís ironic that the man who comes to their rescue is Deets, who warns them about the storm and helps them move their camp. In most circumstances in this time period in America, a black man might have been hanged just because he showed courtesy to a white woman.

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